If you’ve never had issues with your eyesight, then you probably have not given much thought to treating your eyes right. However, since they are some of our most important organs, it really is never too early to start taking care of your eyes, and here are ten points to keep in mind when doing so:
1. Protect your eyes from the sun
The skin that surrounds your eyes is very thin and susceptible to ultraviolet radiation. Different types of skin cancer, such as carcinoma and melanoma, are able to form in your eyelids and around your eyes, which can cause a lot of damage to the eye structure.
Your sunglasses are also important, and you should buy a pair that gives you 100% protection from both UVA and UVB rays since they are both able to stimulate issues that cause macular degeneration and cataracts, both common causes of blindness.
2. What you eat matters
Eating well is the best way to ensure proper eye care, says Rebecca Taylor, M.D., an ophthalmologist at Nashville Vision Associates in Tennessee, and spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. She also says that you should try to get most of your nutrients from food.
Green leafy vegetables provide your body with the nutrients zeaxanthin and lutein, both of which have been shown to decrease the risk of eye diseases. The vitamin A that orange and yellow vegetables contain also boost eye health, while certain fruits, such as mangoes, oranges, and strawberries provide your eyes with a healthy dose of vitamin C and other antioxidants.
3. Comprehensive eye exams detect vision problems early
Getting your eyes tested regularly is the best way to catch a range of eye issues, like glaucoma or diabetic eye disease. Most people with ocular issues, or those over 65, should see their eye doctor at least once a year to ensure that their sight hasn’t changed at all. People between 40 and 55 should take an eye exam every 2 to 4 years, while those between 55 and 65 should take one every 1 to 3 years.
4. Smoking now can cause eye issues later
“Get off tobacco in any form,” Taylor says. Smoking causes cyanide to enter into your bloodstream, which is known to kill the eye’s cells. Smoking puts you at an increased risk of cataract development and will make your eyes dry out. What’s more, it also increases your risk of developing macular degeneration, which is an incurable condition that harms center eye vision, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
5. Working on a computer all day could give you dry eyes
According to Steven Loomis, OD, of Roxborough Park, Colorado, president of the American Optometric Association, one of the most common symptoms of dry eyes is an eye that waters. This is due to the deterioration of the oily and mucous layers, which prevents the evaporation of tears, thereby causing the eye to compensate by producing more water. Dry eyes might also be caused by certain medications, such as antidepressants, inflammation, or even hormonal changes.
To treat dry eyes, try the 20-20-20 rule, which is recommended by the Mayo Clinic – Every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something that’s at least 20 feet away. A warm compress could also help, as can artificial tears that help deal with tired eyes.